Is there no end in sight?
The year has only just started and it’s clear 2018 will go down in history as another year of horrific mass shootings.
As I write this, it’s only February, and we’ve seen 34 mass shootings, including the latest tragedy, which happened on Feb 14. at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, where 17 innocent students and staff members were fatally gunned down, and at least another 14 were wounded. In all, 204 people have been killed or injured this year in senseless mass shootings across the country, according to Gun Violence Archive.
Because of these tragedies, I show up to class carrying a legitimate fear that maybe my school will be next. Because I am an American, I have resigned to the fact that mass shootings are just the new norm for the “greatest nation on earth.”
I could go all the way back to Columbine in 1999. Since then, hundreds of innocent lives have been lost in senseless acts of violence. We all know the stories — they’re nothing new to us because as Americans we experience these crises all too often.
Seventeen innocent souls were brutally murdered in cold blood on Valentine’s Day, a time when we are meant to share love and affection for one another.
We all know what needs to be done, but partisan politics prevent it. Pro-gun lobbyists stand by their cultist, patriotic call to arms; the solution to gun violence is to put a gun in the hand of every American. And anti-gun lobbyists sniffle and wipe away fake tears while crying that all guns must go if we are to ever survive as a nation.
Meanwhile, lawmakers on both sides of the political spectrum take their campaign donations — bribes — and vote down sensible gun control legislation.
It’s time we cast away our dependence on the institutions and politicians we once relied upon to get the job done. The National Rifle Association claims to reel in pain for the families of loved ones lost and heroically vows to work to find a reasonable middle ground for reform. But then it does nothing.
The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence holds the hands of victims and their families and claims it will not stop until gun deaths are at zero in the United States. But the body count keeps rising.
And of course, President Donald Trump simply tweets his remorse for the senseless loss of life and makes a speech to the nation, not mentioning gun law reform or change once.
We the people, need to force the hands of our legislators like we have for so many other pressing issues throughout the history of this nation. The preservation of life is one of our unalienable rights as a citizen of the United States of America, so we must demand that it be protected.
If Temple’s 40,000 students each crafted a basic 250-word letter to their local congressperson or senator demanding gun reform legislation in order to keep weapons out of the hands of individuals like Nikolas Cruz, the gunman in Parkland, those politicians would have a bit of answering to do.
And if student populations across this city, this state and this nation — more than 20 million college students — did the same, maybe we’d push this issue in the right direction and see the change we seek.
Actions speak louder than words, so join me in protesting the insufficient gun laws that have allowed for the murder of so many innocent people in mass shootings across our country for decades.
Let’s help create the momentum needed to actually accomplish reasonable, responsible gun reform that will save lives, preserve rights and ultimately brighten the future of our once great nation.
Jess Bryan is a senior biology major and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.